Inside Columbia


Feels Like Home

By Inside Columbia
Kitchen Table

Most people hire an interior designer when they want to freshen up their home, or when they’re designing a new one. But for Deanna and Milt Harper, it was to allow Milt, who had developed mobility problems after becoming ill in 2014, to stay in the home they had built in 1990 in the Grasslands.

Milt, founder of Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer, a former prosecuting attorney and associate circuit judge, wanted to stay in the home where they had raised their family. But the master bedroom’s location upstairs presented a problem with living in the house — without making some adjustments.

Enter Nick Detert of Putnam’s Studio 1012, who was asked to design a suite on the main floor that would allow Milt to continue living at home and enable him to receive the care he required. Detert designed a suite on the main floor that is both practical — with handicap accessible features — and a peaceful and tranquil space. Practically, the bathroom features a vanity that is high enough for a wheelchair, and the shower has an on/off on the outside, so that Deanna could control the water without having to get wet herself. The color palette of not only the guest suite, but the entire home, is light blues, greys and whites — reminiscent of a spa or beach-side getaway. “Nick did an absolutely amazing job,” Deanna says.

After Milt passed away in 2016, Deanna with support from her daughter, Sara, and son, Joe, decided to continue to update the house. As everyone knows in remodeling, one room leads to another, and in this case, it turned into a whole-home remodel. Detert created a new concept for the home that involved removing walls and gutting other walls down to the studs. During the 9-month remodel, Deanna either lived solely upstairs, surviving with a microwave and bathroom sink for a kitchen, or traveled abroad.

The unique wallpapers throughout the home complement the overall color scheme including the hardwood flooring, wall and trim finishes and muted area carpets and furnishings.

According to Detert, the re-design of the home occurred in three phases. The first being creating a comfortable main living bedroom, the second renovating the master bedroom, bath and guest bath and back deck and the final phase re-configured the kitchen/mud room, pantry, living and dining rooms and foyer layout. He worked with Ragland Construction as the remodel contractor.

Unique artwork is on show throughout the home, including works by Paul Jackson and John Stobart. Milt particularly loved the maritime paintings by John Stobart, and since Milt was from Hannibal, the first print he purchased was of Hannibal, which is hanging over the fireplace.

Detert says one of the most notable changes in the remodel was replacing the existing blond natural oak flooring and cabinetry for a more transitional, updated design selection, a style he feels comfortable referring to as transitional. “Deanna was wonderful to work with, she fully understood the design direction and concepts and was 100% behind the remodel,” he says. “Most importantly, it was an honor to have worked with Milt while he was among us and have him be able to enjoy a portion of the project remodel to his liking. And onwards from there (Phase 1), I truly enjoyed working with Deanna on other areas of the residence. It was gratifying to see her excited, pleased and content with the
final results.”
Each time Deanna came back from a trip, she says she was blown away at how the home — that she had dreamt about building since her college days biking through the neighborhood — had changed.

The custom-made cabinetry, including base and casings, was designed by Detert and Lou Swacker of LJS Woodworking. The island top was also custom made because of its large size, designed by Detert and fabricated by Martellato Marble and Granite.

New wide plank hardwood flooring in soft washed white and grey tones flows throughout the home, complementing the white and crème wall finishes. The oversized kitchen island is the perfect spot for her to bake with her grandkids, the large windows above the kitchen allow natural light and beauty to fill the space and custom lighted cabinets showcase personal treasures from family and friends.

One large part of the remodel included re-configuring what is now the entryway, pantry and guest bathroom. The large, bright pantry doubles as an office for Deanna, offering the perfect tranquil space for a cup of coffee and laptop work.

The couple traveled often, and memorabilia from their trips hangs on the walls in an extremely tasteful and elegant way, adding personality to the Grasslands home.

Although the remodel has completely changed the feel from a somewhat outdated interior to an updated modern getaway, ultimately the success of the project is reflected in Deanna’s sense of peace and harmony in her home. “For a long time, I didn’t want to be at home,” she says, “And COVID was partially a good thing because it did make me spend more time here. Now I am getting back to enjoying spending time at home.” 

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